Album: Jake Bugg
Artist: Jake Bugg
Details: 14 songs; 40 minutes
Who’s Choice: Deliberate Obfuscation
Jake Bugg is a nineteen year old British singer songwriter. He was a teenager when he made this album and became kind of a phenomena. He’s played Letterman, Conan, SXSW. He released two albums in 2013. This week, Dan and I listened to his first one, Jake Bugg.
If I was a teenage girl, I would most certainly daydream about what it would be like if Jake Bugg was my boyfriend. He fits the formula: cute, guitar, writes songs, sings songs, vulnerable but with an edge. Watch a video of him singing Broken and you will see what I mean.
Moving beyond the girls swooning perspective, what did I think of this album? I liked it very much. Jake Bugg throws you back to 1960s rock and roll. We are not talking Dylan folk singing here (even though the album cover makes me see The Times They Are a Changing).
Think Dion’s Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love? Think Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue. Much of this has the head on blues inspired rock and roll. When it it doesn’t, it is a low key ballad. On each track, Jake is playing a guitar, usually there are some drums, sometimes there is a second guitar or bass. There are 14 songs on this album and nine of them are under 3 minutes long (Dylan’s Times They are a Changing had 10 songs; only 1 was less than 3 minutes). The songs are short and give you a sense of who Jake Bugg is. His lyrics set a scene, but they aren’t epistles. Some have a bit of the story song to them, but he clips through snippets of the scene and leaves. That is that.
Gone Mild has more to say about his lyrics, but I cut him more slack. We both agree that he is a talent.
His voice is hard to peg. His British accent is strong in some songs. There is a twang in his voice – sometimes closer to Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys; sometimes closer to Buddy Holly; sometimes there is a female blues thing that I hear. The last song of the album – Fire – employes a scratch, old-timey production technique that I found cheesy and unnecessary.
I honestly don’t know where Jake Bugg will go, but this is an impressive start. He plays a good guitar and has enough variety to his songs to make me think that he has more to explore. I will keep him on my play list and on my radar.
(Note – I first thought this song was called Lightning Bug. I really thought that was cute!)
Up Next: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – Give the People What they Want